Bob Graeser accepts the Tree City Award on behalf of the City of Piqua.
On April 19, 2013, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized 37 southwest Ohio cities, villages, and townships as Tree City USA communities. Among them was the City of Piqua which has received the award for eighteenth year. Created in 1976, the Tree City USA award originates from the Arbor Day Foundation, an organization dedicated to tree planting, conservation and the promotion of community forestry.
The Village of Greenhills hosted the 2013 Tree City USA Awards Program at Molloy’s on the Green in Greenhills, Ohio. The title of “Tree City USA” was bestowed upon each community for its ongoing efforts to maintain and improve the quality of life through a concentrated street tree management program.
“Half of Ohioans live and work in a Tree City USA and enjoy a variety of benefits that come with having more trees, such as cleaner air and water, reduced storm water runoff and increased property values,” said Bob Boyles, state forester and chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “The Tree City USA program also helps communities deal with urban forestry challenges, such as the emerald ash borer.”
As part of this nationwide program, Ohioans last year planted more than 27,000 trees, pruned more than 110,000 trees, volunteered more than 48,000 hours landscaping public parks and preserves and invested more than $40 million toward urban forestry efforts.
Since 1979, the ODNR Division of Forestry has assisted communities in enhancing the quality of life within cities and villages through comprehensive tree planting and care programs. In 1997, Ohio became the first state to have more than 200 Tree City USA communities.
Participating communities must establish a tree board or department to carry out a tree care program, enact a community tree ordinance to provide direction, fund the community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and celebrate Arbor Day with a community ceremony and mayoral proclamation.
Ohio remains the nation’s leader in Tree City USA communities with 235 participating cities, villages and townships. This marks Ohio’s 32nd year as the top Tree City USA state, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Forestry. The event in Greenhills was one of six regional Tree City USA celebrations in Ohio during the month of April.